Monday, October 13, 2008

Hip Hop Speaks to Children

A lot of excellent bloggers have been more timely than me in reviewing this book. See what TheHappyNappyBookseller, HipWriterMama, Fuse #8, Kelly Fineman, Shelf Elf, and Franki have to say about it.

But I still have to have my say. Because it's just that good.

(Actually, this book had me from the introduction, where Nikki Giovanni suggested that "if we could get to Mars we'd probably find a group of young Martians, hats flipped back, pants on the baggy side, shirts down to the knees, busting some rhymes, challenging each other in free style.")

Nikki Giovanni's selections go beyond what we usually think of as hip hop: Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Lucille Clifton, and Langston Hughes make appearances. So does Martin Luther King, Jr.'s prose.

But it works. All the selections in the book have a beat, and they just beg to be read out loud.

The illustrations, done by five different artists, tie in nicely with the poems they represent. While the samples available on Sourcebooks' site are nice, they left out my favorites. When you get your hands on a copy, be sure to check out the illustrations for
  • Dream Boogie (Langston Hughes)
  • Oh, Words (Eloise Greenfield)
  • Principal's Office (Young MC)
  • Harlem Night Song (Langston Hughes)
  • Ego Tripping (Nikki Giovanni)
And there's a CD, too - some of the poets read their own works, some are performed by others. Definitely worth a look!


Vivian said...

Thanks for the mention.

Glad you enjoyed the book. It is really good, isn't it?

Steven at Book Dads said...

This looks great, maybe something we'll take a look at for our son.